Coronavirus: Players Championship cancelled after one round

Rory McIlroy had called for all players to be tested for coronavirus before the Players Championship was cancelled

The Players Championship in Florida has been cancelled after one round with organisers saying it was “the right thing to do” in order to safeguard against the spread of coronavirus.

The PGA Tour has also stopped all play until the Valero Texas Open on 2 April.

The Masters – the first major of 2020 – is due to begin a week later.

The Tour said: “At this point – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause.”

The event, held at TPC Sawgrass, is not a major championship but is often referenced as ‘the fifth major’ given its status in the golfing calendar.

Earlier on Thursday organisers said fans would not be able to attend the prestigious course for the final three rounds of play.

But later they announced: “It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of The Players Championship.

“We have also decided to cancel all PGA Tour events – across all of our Tours – in the coming weeks, through to the Valero Texas Open.

“We have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process. We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavouring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate.”

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shot a nine-under 63 to equal the course record on Friday.

The Players Championship was first played in 1974 and has never been cancelled.

On Thursday, the next three tournaments on the LPGA Tour – including the first major of the year – were postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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